UPDATED: May 27, 2011 (clarify the Ooma wiring diagram)
Yesterday, an acquaintance ( Bob Gannon – @bobgannon) asked me whether one could use the Ooma Hub to power all of the phones throughout your home.
That is a GOOD QUESTION! When I bought the unit, that was my original intention. But, as Bob stated, there is very little info about this. That is understandable since Ooma probably wants you NOT to use it that way. Let me explain…
The Ooma Hub “normally” will be set up as a supplement to your normal fixed phone line. This is how it is described in their documentation (page 2 of the user guide):
By using the ooma system with a landline, you increase the reliability of your phone service and retain traditional 911 services. This allows you to make and receive phone calls, including 911 calls, even if your Internet service is down or your power is out….
The benefits of setting up the Ooma system this way:
- The standard setup is simple and quick and does not require any rewiring of the home.
- If you use this setup, then all of Ooma’s documentation works correctly.
- The standard setup is REQUIRED if you want to use the Ooma Scout. The Scout allows you to have a second Ooma “private” phone number and provides an “extension” phone connection elsewhere in your home.
- Even if you disconnect your fixed phone line, everything will still work as described
The downside of the “normal” setup:
- You ONLY have Ooma phone service on whatever phone(s) are connected directly to the Ooma Hub (or optionally, the Scout).
- The placement of the Hub (near your Internet Modem) may not be a convenient location to place the ONLY Ooma phone.
- If you do set up the Ooma as secondary, then the answer to Bob’s question is “No. You cannot use the Ooma for “whole house phone service.”
So to offset some of these problems, Ooma offers the Ooma Scout as an alternative. The Scout allows you to have a second Ooma phone line and a “private” number plus other benefits. (Note: The use of the Ooma Scout requires you to pay for their “Premier service.)
My solution: (The order of these steps is important. It may take a couple weeks or more for the phone company to complete all of the actions). If your ISP is Cable or Fiber, you can skip to item #4.
NOTE: I have eliminated DSL from my vocabulary – Cable is now at 30-60Mb/s while DSL/uVerse is (at best) about 7Mb/s.
- If you have DSL/Uverse, etc then request that the phone company move the DSL connection from your home phone number to a “dry line.” Tell them that you will – at a later time – “port” your home phone number to another provider and you want to retain DSL service WITHOUT attached phone service. This will change the DSL’s phone number to another number and the installer will place the (new) DSL line on a separate connection at the phone company’s box on your home. This MUST be completed prior to starting item #4 in order to retain the same phone number after you connect the Ooma device.
- Connect your DSL modem to the NEW DSL connection and assure that you can connect to the Internet. Your fixed phone line and all existing phones will still be connected to the original phone connection and still will work correctly until you decide to turn off the land line / fixed phone service.
- After the installer has moved the DSL connection, you can remove all of the DSL filters from your phone lines. They will no longer be needed whether you use an Ooma device or not.
- Activate your Ooma Hub and request a SEPARATE Ooma phone number. You can port your home phone number later.
- Connect the Ooma Hub to your Modem (DSL, Cable, or Fiber) according to the instructions included with the Ooma device. The Cat5 cable should be connected to the Ooma’s “MODEM” connector. (You can connect a computer or router to the Cat5 connector marked “HOME” on the Ooma. )
- Forward all calls from your phone company number to the new Ooma phone number. (This service may require an additional expense but you will only need it until your number is ported and then it will become your Ooma phone number.
- Disconnect the telephone company’s line from your home phone system. For Cable or Fiber Internet, this can be done by simply unplugging the plug in the box where the telephone service enters your home. If you have DSL, it becomes more difficult since the telephone line must be connected to the DSL Modem. However, if you want the Ooma to operate on normal inside telephone wiring, you MUST disconnect that wiring from the outside wiring! The simplest way is to wire the DSL modem directly to the outside wiring and then disconnect all inside wiring. For this to work, the ONLY connection to the outside telephone wiring can be the DSL modem.
- THIS STEP IS IMPORTANT! – DO NOT connect the Ooma “Wall” jack to the phone jack on the wall as they show in the Ooma documentation. Instead, connect the Ooma “Phone” jack to the inside wiring. The “Wall” jack can be used ONLY to connect a Ooma Scout for a second phone number / line. Any connection to the Ooma “Wall” jack MUST be kept separate from any other phone lines and used EXCLUSIVELY to connect to the Scout.
- At this point, all of your phones will be active on the Ooma line & Ooma phone number. All calls made either to your old home phone number OR to the new Ooma phone number will ring all the phones in your house. All outgoing calls will be made via the Ooma hub and all US calls will be free. Note that anyone you call will see your CallerID number as the Ooma number so this may be confusing but it will only be for a short time (until you port the old number to the Ooma.).
This is the end of the essential steps in the process. You can now try it out and still go back to your old POTS phone without any difficulty. If you want to return, just disconnect the Ooma and reconnect the inside and outside telephone lines.
- When you are satisfied with the call quality and service that the Ooma device provides, begin the process of porting your old home phone number to the Ooma. Ooma currently charges $39.99 for this service but your phone company should not charge you anything for their part. (Note: Ooma provides porting w/o charge if you purchase their Premier service at $120 per year.)
- You should now be set up with Ooma to make and receive calls without any long distance charges or monthly fees! All phones connected to your existing home phone wiring should work properly and you can use any normal phone or device at any jack. I hate fax machines so I don’t know if they work or not but I THINK they will.
DISCLAIMER: This and all guides & How-To’s on this site are given as general information only. You are entirely responsible for your own actions. I will not be held liable for any damage done as a result of your attempts to follow these guides. USE THEM AT YOUR OWN RISK!